Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror – “The Waldo Moment” Series 2 Episode 3 – Season Finale

Sam Parker: Black Mirror: ‘The Waldo Moment’ (REVIEW).

The review above is an excellent write up and I don’t think I can even try and write as eloquently as Sam Parker. It is pretty much exactly what I thought of this week’s episode so check it out. I was amused to see that it received mixed reviews on Twitter where fans of the show thought that it was a bit boring compared to the other episodes in Series 2.

I think it was partly to do with the fact that “The Waldo Moment” wasn’t warning us of the dangers of technology and having crazy axe-murderers chasing after our main character. I actually thought it was one of the most accurate and most compelling episodes in the series to date.

This week’s episode is about a blue cartoon bear called Waldo who becomes an unlikely candidate in a local by-election after insulting a Tory politician on national TV. I would say that Waldo could be compared to Sascha Baron Cohen’s character, Ali G who would interview and insult real life politicians on a chat show. The public fall in love with Waldo and his anti-politics attitude and start to vote for him.

Sam Parker explains it best: “Problems arise when Waldo’s creator, a failed comedian called Jamie, grows embarrassed and ashamed as his joke gets out of control and he finds himself in a position of genuine influence. In a line straight from Brooker’s heart he despairs: “I’m neither stupid or clever enough to be in politics”. But like Victor Frankenstein, Jamie is too late: his creation is too powerful, and lives on without him.”

I think that in the UK, people are feeling a bit fed up with politicians. After the expenses scandal and other nonsense, it is becoming harder and harder to trust these privileged people who lie and cheat their way into power. There is a definite desire for more honest communication from politicians. Yet, however crappy the government is “they still built these roads”.

Yet the reason why Waldo becomes so popular in this week’s episode is for just that reason. He insults politicians, he doesn’t give a shit – Exactly the attitude of our generation. It gave the option for people who didn’t care about politics, to vote for Waldo instead.

Either way, I’m not going to try and write up the episode properly since it has already been done, so please do check out the article and watch the episode if you haven’t seen it already!

Life lessons learned through Video Games: Plants Vs. Zombies (on Iphone and Ipad)

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As I mentioned before in my Bubble Witch Saga post, I never used to really understood social gaming. I guess just the mere thought of in-app purchases put me off and I cannot be trusted when it comes to spending. I learned my credit card details off by heart about 4 years ago and subsequently, that alone has led to some bad decisions when it came to impulse buying and then, finally, landed me in some annoying financial situations.

Which was why I was pleased to find that Plants Vs. Zombies was available to download for free and all the levels were totally achievable (so far) without spending any cash.

It’s what I’m completely addicted to right now except that it keeps crashing on my Ipad (but that might be to do with the fact that it was the 1st gen Ipad and I’ve just downloaded iOS 6 onto it…..bit of a mistake i think). The thing is, I re-downloaded it twice before accepting defeat and started playing it on my Iphone instead.

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In a nutshell, it’s a tower defense game. It’s an age old formula that can seen pretty laboured when developers don’t put enough effort behind it – but when it’s done well, that’s it, I’m hooked. I love strategy games because it puts my super-organisation skills to good use! Just the sheer variety of plants that you can use to kill zombies with is phenomenal (according to IGN there are 48 plant varieties and 26 kinds of zombies). And the graphics are rather pretty too.

The system is rather simple. Zombies comin’ atcha in neat little rows, while you quickly set up defenses so that Zombies can’t get into your house. There are pea-shooters that shoot little bullets, sunflowers that collect sun points that you spend to get more vicious plants in your garden. There’s something so satisfying about watching a perfect game where you have laid out all of your defenses perfectly.

Of course to complete the game, I assume you will end up spending a bit of money on in-app purchases but I’ve changed my attitude towards it recently. If I’m able to download and enjoy the game for free without waiting 20 minutes for my 1 heart to re-charge in order to start a level (damn you Bubble witch Saga!!), then I have no problem spending £0.69 on their store. However, the game should have a pretty satisfying play through considering the fact that they are giving this game away for free.

Anyway, I definitely recommend that you check it out!

Has anyone completed the game? How long did it take you and what’s your overall verdict?

 

Jay’s Blog – Ramblings: I write blog articles when I’m on my death bed

I’ve been ill since Sunday and it hasn’t been pleasant. For a start, I couldn’t even sleep without a mask on and even when I woke up, I wandered round the house in sunglasses for most of the day because sunlight hurt my eyes (no – I’m not a vampire, though I’m starting to get serious cabin fever from staying indoors for 4 days).

I’ve been writing almost obsessively since I started getting ill a few days ago so expect a few articles sometime soon.

Also, I’d just like to thank everyone who has commented, liked and followed me. It’s made me a lot more confident about my writing and to be honest, I’m just grateful I have followers who are interested in what I have to say in the first place!

Articles coming soon:

  • 8-bit Chiptune music – New musical trend?
  • Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror Series 2 Episode 3: “The Waldo Moment”
  • Plants Vs. Zombies – Yet another addictive game you guys need to check out
  • Where are all the female gamers – Hello?? Anyone out there?

Django Unchained – One of Tarantino’s best so far [SPOILERS]

I’m not a huge fan of 1960s Spaghetti westerns on the whole. I mean, if somebody sat me down and forced me to watch it I wouldn’t be unhappy but as a genre, it never really appealed to me. I think in general, I don’t really like films with a lot of gratuitous violence and war films bore me to death. Too many explosions, too much fighting and blood.

Having said all of that, I think that Django Unchained is possibly one of the best films I’ve seen in a long long time. I know, I’m a little late jumping on this blogging band wagon about Django because the rest of the blogisphere seem to just be losing their shit about this film!

In a nutshell, this is basically another revenge film. Jamie Foxx plays the main character called Django who is a freed slave on a mission to save his wife who has been taken to Mississipi to work on the infamous Candyland plantation. In the opening scene, our hero is freed by Dr. Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a bounty hunter, who needs Django’s help in identifying 3 men he is trying to kill. After hearing of his plight, Dr. Schultz agrees to help Django rescue his wife, Broomhilde. Under the pretense of buying a Mandango fighter, Dr. Schultz and Django make their way to Candyland where they meet the evil Calvin Candie (Leo DiCaprio), lord and master of the notorious plantation. Samuel L Jackson’s portrayal of Calvin Candie’s right hand man, is absolutely perfect; the most terrifying Uncle Tom you could ever hope to meet. Of course, when Django and Dr. Schultz’s cover is blown, a hellish blood bath ensues.

I think everybody when watching any Tarantino film will just have to accept that it is not historically accurate. I don’t think the point of the movie was to spout facts at the audience while trying to simply re-create an environment. Tarantino produces works of art so of course its going to look and feel infinitely more stylish and Hollywood. At the same time, Tarantino was careful to highlight the realities of the pre civil-war era which meant that some scenes were almost unbearable to watch because horrific things did happen to those poor slaves.

I think, for me personally anyway, the script and the acting was incredible. I’ve always been a fan of the monologue and I find Tarantino’s prose absolutely mesmerising. I especially liked the character of Dr. Schultz because he is such a “nice” man.

A lot of people commented on the use of the word “nigger” throughout the film. Some people said they thought it was unnecessary, some thought it really added to the general unease regarding the subject of the film. Personally, I think that any person who thinks they can just throw the word so carelessly around like that is a bit of an idiot but at the same time, I hate the fact that the world is so obsessed with political correctness that even words that come out of actor’s mouths are judged with the same disdain as if you or I had uttered it. I think, ultimately, if they had halved the amount of times they say the word in the film, it wouldn’t have affected the quality much. To be honest, I don’t know if its bad or not, but I didn’t give that much thought to it at all when I walked out the cinema but it seems to be a hot topic at the moment.

The ONLY criticism about the movie is the Broomhilde character. She really doesn’t do much except…look alluring in a lake in Django’s imagination and speak a bit of German to Dr. Schultz. I would have liked to have seen a strong female lead character, especially in a film about the slave trade. It seemed a bit of an anti-climax when I realised that she was, essentially, more of a symbolic goal than a hugely important part of Django’s life. This made her a bit of a two-dimensional character. I actually found her story really interesting

Apart from that, there is LOADS of violence, LOADS of action, really great characters played by brilliant actors. After we all walked out of the cinema, the film sparked a debate that lasted well into the night.

I’m keen to hear your thoughts on the film! I hope I didn’t give too much away, please comment. Hopefully, I can successfully get a debate going!

Sony Announcement 2013 – Playstation 4 coming out at the end of this year!

Sony announces the PlayStation 4, launching at the end of 2013 | The Verge.

PlayStation 4: Sony launch fires starting pistol on the next generation | Technology | The Guardian.

Life lessons learned through Video Games – looks like Sony have FINALLY got something right! Read the article above, it’s a great little summary of the Sony announcement last night. I’m really excited about the developer capabilities! Hopefully, they will reach out to Indie Game developers like us so we can release titles for the PS4 one day!

Also, it’s going to take Social gaming to the next level. You can share videos and screen shots with your mates as well as watch play sessions in real time! Not just that but the tech demos of some of the 3D modelling software is just fantastic. I want to get my hands on it now. The meme I chose for the featured image has never been more appropriate.

So when is playstation 4 coming out? The release date is Christmas 2013. I’m buying one, are you?

Life lessons learned through Video Games: Bubble Witch Saga

So, I’ve developed another perfectly healthy addiction. I’ve started playing Bubble Witch Saga. Partly due to me bowing under peer pressure but I think it was more to do with my sense of scientific curiosity. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.

I told myself for ages that I wouldn’t start playing Facebook games because they weren’t “real games” like Ni No Kuni or Bioshock Infinite. I think that I knew that I would somehow get addicted to them as well because, that’s just how I am. Once I find something that feels good, I just want more and more and more.

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This was a bad idea.

I’m failing at life this week because of this stupid game. I don’t know why but it’s got me hooked. I’ve been sat here mindlessly tapping my Ipad screen for the entirety of yesterday before I was forced to turn it off to watch the Sony Announcement (I will be writing this up today too).

What makes it so special? I have no idea. I literally don’t have a clue why I’m playing it.  I do quite like the “social” aspect of it, in that you can see what your friends scores are when going through the levels. But even that has pissed me off because now I’m wasting lives (that take 20 mins to recover), trying to beat my friends high scores even though I passed the level!

To be honest, it’s EXACTLY like every other Bubble fighter game out there except there are in app purchases and you can synchronise it to Facebook. And it feels completely endless because there are like a few hundred levels to get through. I still don’t know why I’m playing it….but I just can’t stop……………

Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror – “White Bear” Series 2 Episode 2

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This week’s episode was completely different from the last one. It pulls away from any emotional and romantic themes to something more dark, tense and surreal in the only way that Charlie Brooker can.

The story revolves around a woman called “Victoria” (Lenora Crichlow) who wakes up inside a house with no memory of who she was. When she finally ventures out of the house, she finds that everyone around her is filming her every move. She discovers that she is being chased by a group of scary masked people called “The Hunters” wielding shot guns and electric saws and manages to escape their clutches with the help of a young rebel (Tuppence Middleton). It turns out, a signal was sent out to every TV and Smartphone which turned everyone in Britain into a mindless zombie. Not the brain eating kind – all they are able to do is mindlessly film stuff on their phones. They need to make their way to the “White Bear” control tower to wipe out the transmitter that is making everyone turn into “onlookers”.

Then, the plot is turned completely on it’s head as we discover that everything that Victoria went through was a lie. Her entire experience was filmed as part of a TV show as her surroundings fold away to reveal a jeering studio audience. At this point, it seems as though Victoria has been part of a “Derren Brown’s – Apocolypse” style experiment of some sort but we find out that she was an accomplice in the brutal murder of a little girl.

The entire TV show is based around a justice programme that Victoria is part of where she is subjected to physical and psychological torture by being thrown repeatedly into apocalyptic style situations as punishment for her actions and, of course, for the public’s viewing pleasure. Think of “White Bear Justice Park” as a wildlife safari where you can take pictures and film the mental torture of a criminal.

This episode asks many questions. Victoria’s crime was that she was an accomplice in the murder of the little girl. Her fiance had tortured and killed her while Victoria stood by and filmed the whole thing. Is Brooker possibly suggesting that people that stand by and do nothing are just as guilty as the people that carry out the crime?

Of course, Brooker addresses the issue of human rights and morality in each episode. Did Victoria’s punishment fit her crime? Yes, I think so. Was it wrong to make a glossy, packaged show out of it? Probably. Do we feel any empathy for Victoria? I did, purely because everything that happened to her was completely horrific, whether or not she was a criminal. We go on this journey with her without knowing anything about her and feel completely empathetic yet, are we really so fickle that we can still change our minds in an instant?

The most important thing that I took away from this episode was that how any sympathy goes out the window when the character in question is reduced to an image on the TV screen. We live in a world where everyone enjoys watching people being humiliated for entertainment. I also think this episode echoes the sort of real life witch-hunts (eg. Ian Brady & Myra Hindley) and how hysterical red-top newspaper headlines can capture and alter the opinions of an entire nation.